Married couple Rick Weersing (late of REI) and Ellen Kelly (a recently retired attorney) wanted to celebrate their passion for the outdoors with a space where avid hikers and nature enthusiasts could share their experiences—with a favorite beverage in hand. So in May they opened The Noble Fir (5316 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.420.7425; thenoblefir.com).
The Vibe High ceilings, natural lighting, pale blue walls and a polished wooden bar create an uncluttered atmosphere in a relatively small space. Walls display a few framed photos of Pacific Northwest forests, rivers and mountains. A small bookshelf filled with travel books, wilderness guides and maps makes this a popular destination for the sweater-wearing, over-30 crowd.
The Food The menu is small but tasty and allows you to mix and match an assortment of meats, cheeses, smoked salmon and Field Roast “grain meats” (for vegans and vegetarians). Each plate (three choices for $9, five/$13, seven/$17) comes with honey, jams, grapes and a sliced baguette. Sandwiches ($7.50–$9.50) are tasty but not particularly filling.
The Drinks More than a dozen beers and ciders are on tap, and more than two dozen more are available by the bottle, including local Fremont Universal Pale Ale. Draughts come in imperial (20-ounce) pints for $5. Check out happy hour (4–6:30 p.m. daily) for a dollar off all tap brews. Wines lean to Old World style.
The Bathrooms The restrooms continue the clean, Northwest theme. Leafy bouquets decorate the marble sinks. Ballard Organic Soaps add a nice touch.